This is an important topic for anyone who currently has a website and domain name, as well as for anyone interested in building an internet identity. I am sharing not only from personal experience (I have five active websites online at this time) but from my business, Connecticut Secretary, and the projects I have been involved with in creating and building websites for my customers.
Oftentimes customers will approach me after they have already chosen a domain name. What I investigate first is who actually owns that domain name. I no longer ask the customer directly, because 99.9% of the time the response is always “I do!” when in fact many of them unwittingly do not. Determining this is an easy step; you simply go to an independent domain registrar such as Register.com, http://www.register.com, and type in the domain name and choose whois when the results pop up. Feel free to go and type in connecticutsecretary.com and choose whois. You will see that I, Kate Smalley, am listed as the owner and administrative contact for Connecticut Secretary. The technical contact is simply the hosting service I have chosen.
The problem we run into is when individuals have chosen to purchase their domain name through a hosting service at a discounted rate. The hosting service is the company that purchases and owns your domain name, and in essence you sometimes just end up renting it along with your hosting service. This is a great way for the hosting company to ensure continued business. Think about if, in the future, you decide to change hosting services. Who do you think you will have to contact to have your domain redirected to another hosting provider? How anxious do you think they will be to provide service to you? How quickly do you feel they will redirect your url? What will happen if they forget to renew your domain name and someone else obtains control and ownership of it? What happens if that hosting company goes out of business? I have seen it happen. To take this conversation one step further, there are now hosting companies that will purchase the domain in your name, so you are the official owner, but they still retain control over your usage of the account. An important point to remember is that ownership of an account as well as having the ability to use the account are important features when deciding how to purchase your domain name.
“…in essence you sometimes just end up renting… “
I am not saying this is a fact with all hosting companies; I only ask you to consider it for your own well-being and future viability on the internet. Purchasing a domain name yourself is only a matter of spending a few extra dollars per year, and is well worth the security of knowing you are the owner and the one in control of your domain. Consider the amount of work that you have put in to targeting and obtaining traffic through the search engines on your keywords and search terms. Think about all the business you will loose if you have to start over again with a new domain name from scratch.
I have changed hosting companies for Connecticut Secretary once. As my traffic increased, with my other hosting company, they limited my services and at times shut my site down because of server load. This was an important issue for me, as it resulted in lost sales and potential customer dissatisfaction, to say the least. Because I owned my domain independent of the hosting company, changing hosts was a very simple procedure. All I had to do was start services with a new hosting company and redirect my URL to that hosting company. Once the transfer was complete I was back in business without a hitch. There was work involved with rebuilding my site of course, but I was prepared for that. If I lost my domain name I would have lost a tremendous amount of existing traffic and potential business, not to mention my business identity that I had worked hard for.
“…ownership of an account as well as having the ability to use the account are important features… “
There are so many topics that we can go into regarding domain names and your business on the internet: Cyber squatters and your responsibilities with regards to trademark policing, dispute resolution, the increase of typo squatters on the internet, choosing a relevant domain name, how to promote your business on the net through domain names, and so much more. With this article on domain name ownership, Connecticut Secretary wants to convey the fact that a domain name is a valuable asset, and I suggest that you take the time now to check and verify who actually owns your domain name. If you are about to start the process of obtaining an internet identity I suggest that you take the time to consider the future ramifications of the decisions you make today.
Kate Smalley, President
Specializing in Transcription and Freelance
Copyright 2003Kate Smalley, PresidentConnecticut SecretarySpecializing in Transcription and FreelanceSecretarial Serviceshttp://[email protected]